Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marcus Wesson: Control, Incest and Murder


Marcus Wesson
Marcus Wesson
Wesson's worldview was a viciously sinister one. He believed society was full of sin and peril and cloistered his children to shield them from it. In the confines of their home, they were mercilessly exposed to the biggest danger they'd ever know: their own father.

The Wesson case has drawn many comparisons to that of Winnfred Wright, a religious and polygamous nut job from San Francisco who ruled his three common-law wives and 13 children with an iron fist until one of his offspring died of malnutrition. Like Wesson, Wright didn't work, kept his children isolated from society, and ordered his women to financially support him.

Winnfred Wright
Winnfred Wright
Child abuse is another commonality. When Wesson's children didn't do their homework or Bible lessons, he hit them with a stick wrapped in duct tape or small baseball bat. They weren't allowed to have friends and seldom left the house. When the kids did cross paths with strangers, they barely said a word, leaving the impression that they were polite and well-behaved when in fact they were extremely maladjusted to social interaction. At the Fresno house, Wesson's numerous children were so well hidden that many neighbors didn't know of their existence until they learned of their deaths.

Brainwashed from a young age, the children believed everything Wesson said. They had no sense of what was moral or socially acceptable — all they knew was Wesson's law. He told them he was Jesus Christ, demanded their unwavering obedience, and got it.


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